What was there before the Cro-Magnons (early homo sapiens sapiens? Well, another species: the homo neanderthalensis.
What were these Neanderthals like? Well, they were…artists! Or so it would seem following the latest dating of some Spanish cave art samples.
For decades, the cave paintings of Altamira and other Franco-Cantabrian caves have amazed people worldwide. Art historians celebrated them as man’s oldest creative artistic expression. But now there is a possibility that some of them were not done by man the way we understand him (he species homo sapiens), but rather his predecessor: homo neanderthalensis. The polemic arose following the application of a refined dating technique to a sample that turned out to be some 41,000 years old (at El Castillo Cave, Spain).
So, we (homo sapiens) did not ‘invent’ art? For the moment, there are doubts, but if any sample from the cave art yields a dating that exceeds this mark, there will be no room for doubt about art predating modern man.